- Accidental Innuendo: "It's so nice to be the pet for once."note
- Alternate Character Interpretation: Was Luna claiming Celestia has no power in the dream realm just a handwave to keep her her out of the story? Or was it just an excuse Luna made to avoid having to confront Celestia over the Tantabus and her role in it? Two seasons later, the show denies both. Dream Walker is a "Princess of the Night" exclusive power tied to Luna's cutie mark.
- Author's Saving Throw:
- For those who felt the Nightmare Forces from the comics devalued Luna's being The Atoner, this episode qualifies, given the Tantabus is the literal embodiment of her guilt.
- Also, fans have long wanted to see the God-Emperor princesses cut loose, but anytime something that would require the level of power we expect from those who control the sun and moon — and hear of them having used in the distant past — shows up, they end up suffering The Worf Effect, or never acting beyond exposition duty at all. Not today, as we truly get to see Luna take action, showing herself quite powerful though not without limits. One sequence was much like fans have discussed wishing had happened at times like "A Canterlot Wedding"; a role that lets the Princesses not seem so useless by holding down the fort in one way while still needing the Mane Six. In this case, Luna's mindlinking the entire city, which limits, but doesn't fully eliminate, her ability to act directly.
- It could also be seen as this for the fans who disliked "Luna Eclipsed" for allowing Luna to let her past define her, instead of leaving it behind, in order to gain friends.
- Awesome Art: The Giant Tantabus Pony is some of the most beautiful art to ever come out of the series.
- Bizarro Episode: This is an episode about a dream-warping monster who traps everypony in Ponyville in the same nightmare. The first half digs into the worst nightmares of the Mane Six, then the second half involves a completely out-there battle sequence including Big Mac undergoing a Magical Girl Transformation Sequence, Filthy Rich riding a giant wave of bits shooting money from his hooves, and a knightly Spike riding a giant Derpy into battle. Yeah, this episode gets weird.
- Broken Base:
- There's some debate over which is better: this episode or the Nightmare Arc of the IDW comics, since both tackled Luna's insecurities which end up nearly bringing destruction to Equestria. The comic was more focused on the Nightmare Forces and Nightmare Rarity than Luna, yet it brought a face to Nightmare Moon and had Luna confronting her fear more directly. This episode has Luna in a more passive role for the climax that makes it feel more scaled down, but the focus was kept on Luna's character, and the Tantabus being a personification of her guilt rather than the force that made her Nightmare Moon adds to Luna's status as The Atoner.
- Is Luna's guilt throughout Narm? Or entirely understandable given the situation she's in?
- Was this a good episode that portrayed Luna finally forgiving herself in a well-done manner whilst adding some hilarious Fandom Nods and showing that the background ponies can get in on the action just as well as the Mane Six? Or was it a badly done episode that portrayed Luna as a pony with issues bordering on self-destruction that were far too quickly and unrealistically shunted under the rug?
- Fanfic Fuel:
- In Princess Luna's dream in the Cold Open, the Mane Six hit Nightmare Moon with their Care-Bear Stare twice; the first time, before the Tantabus escapes, they are unsuccessful. The fact that Luna says "That cannot happen!" implies three things: she's had this dream before, the Tantabus prevents the Care-Bear Stare from being effective, and the dream usually ends badly. The many possible ways it could end badly, from a simple Cut Short or Tonight, Someone Dies to an extended nightmare ending with Equestria after years of The Night That Never Ends, beg exploration.
- The princesses are confirmed to have the ability to create Lovecraftian monsters. Take that as you will.
- The ponies' dreams. Why is it that Derpy dreams of being huge? How often does Big Mac dream of being an Alicorn princess? Could Lyra and Bon Bon's dreamselves mean something about their friendship? Does Filthy Rich always dream of being a superhero?
- Harsher in Hindsight: Back in "Luna Eclipsed", the townspeople finally forgave Luna for her actions as Nightmare Moon and she felt accepted by the town. However, this episode revealed that she did not forgive herself for what she did and has been inflicting nightmares on herself in order to atone. It's even stated that she never thought the ponies should have accepted her back and that she thinks very little of herself. Perhaps she even felt ashamed because she was only accepted at Nightmare Night when she deliberately scared foals.
- Heartwarming in Hindsight: It's later revealed that a very young Apple Bloom loved to watch Big Mac make a dragonfly toy fly and thought he was doing it with magic, and has since grown out of it and idolizes Applejack more, lending a quite poignant explanation for why he'd dream of being an Alicorn.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- Sometime after the airing of "Magical Mystery Cure", M.A. Larson took a lot of in-jest flack from the older fans for making Twilight an Alicorn (the "Thanks M.A. Larson" meme). During a brief Twitter discussion with Larson, Peter New made a bad pun leading Larson to jokingly tell New he has "punched his ticket to Alicorntown!" (The original tweet has been deleted but survives in graphic form). This led fan artists, particularly Pixelkitties, to create fanart depicting Big Mac as such. Guess who ascended to Princesshood thanks to the massive Ponyville-wide dream?
- This episode involves Princess Luna still harboring massive guilt for her time as Nightmare Moon and Ponyville fighting against a dream corrupting spirit. Several years prior, the IDW comic series had the Nightmare Arc, dealing with similar ideas.
- The "Neigh, Soul Sister" episode of Friendship is Witchcraft has previously referenced Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. When Applejack and Apple Bloom are herding sheep, Sweetie Belle (either a soulless robot or an android) wonders "Why have I seen these creatures in my dreams?" "Lunar Slander" has a Meaningful Echo that treads a bit closer to this episode's plot when Luna/Molestia animates the plush spiders in a carnival game and a random background pony asks "Why have I seen these creatures in my nightmares?"
- Fluttershy referring to Nightmare Angel Bunny as a "giant evil Angel" becomes ten times funnier when we find out in "Scare Master" that she likes the pony-equivalent to Neon Genesis Evangelion...which just so happens to dedicate some of its plot to killing giant evil monsters called "Angels".
- Ever since Undertale was released, there had been immediate comparisons between the "Happy Flowers" and Flowey.
- Les Yay:
- Memetic Mutation: Rainbow's horror at the overly bright and happy "nightmare" the Tantabus puts her in has led to jokes that it reminds her of her "past life" and that's what scared her.
- Luna's constant guilt is mentioned so many times that it stops being sad and comes off as a Running Gag instead.
- It's a little hard to take the defeat of the Tantabus seriously when it turns around and gives a goofy-looking "wait, what?" expression to the camera just before disappearing.
- Narm Charm: Most people old enough to remember Barney & Friends when they hear the singing flowers' song will probably find Rainbow Dash's nightmare just as troubling as she does.
- Suspiciously Similar Song: It's probably just a complete coincidence that the music during Big Mac's Transformation Sequence sounds like Sailor Moon's original transformations.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
- For the comic fans, the possibility of having an animated version of Nightmare Rarity.
- Some wanted Twilight's fear of quesadillas to be part of her nightmares.
- A lot of fans wanted Princess Celestia to have a role in the story — as the one most hurt by the Nightmare Moon incidents, and the one who also most loves Luna, she kinda needed to be here. Especially since Celestia herself has been shown to feel guilt over the incident. Jim Miller acknowledged this but there was no room for it in the episode.
- We see Applejack, Twilight, Rainbow Dash and Spike make use of their newfound Reality Warper dream powers, but all Rarity does with them is make a needle to sew up a portal, and Pinkie Pie, of all ponies, don't do anything crazy at all!
- The scope of the threat could well have been enough for a season finale-caliber double-parter episode.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: The Tantabus when it grows bigger and takes pony form. Terrifying as the implications are as it nearly escapes to Equestria, it likewise looks beautiful.
- Wangst: This fan comic sums up why some felt Luna's guilt was excessive.Luna: I created the Tantabus to punish myself for everything that I had done as Nightmare Moon...
Twilight: Princess Luna! You were Nightmare Moon for like, an hour. You barely hurt anypony...
Luna: Everything that I've done!
- What an Idiot!: Pinkie Pie dreams of giving ice cream to everypony in Ponyville, therefore dragging the entire town into fighting Tantabus.
- The Woobie: Poor Princess Luna. In spite of everypony's support, she still can't let go of her past self as Nightmare Moon.
YMMV / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S5 E13 "Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?"